‘Hosanna to the Son of David…Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ (Matt. 21:9)
Read Matthew 21:1-11
The story of Palm Sunday is so well known to us as we think of our Lord entering through the city gates of Jerusalem to a chorus of Hosanna ringing in His ears. However, the Holy city is full to the brim and even now, among those who are cheering and waving their Palm branches welcoming Jesus as their Messiah, there are those in the crowds who are bemused by what is going on as well as those who want to stop Jesus at all costs.
Of course we will never be able to truly appreciate or understand all the emotions that people were showing that day. We will never be able to fully appreciate the excitement, the anticipation or the tension that everyone would have been experiencing. However, as we ‘stand’ at those city gates today, we know that once we enter we will be swept up into events over which we have no control and if we’re honest we will find that somewhat daunting. Nevertheless, as with all who were present on that Palm Sunday, as we stand at these city gates, we have all sorts of options and possibilities.
We can enter with Jesus and walk with him to his garden of new life and take our place in God’s everlasting kingdom, in a place already prepared for us even now.
Or we can enter and join with the crowds who are jeering rather than cheering and at the end of the week find ourselves with nothing.
Or we can stay precisely where we are, at the gates, unwilling to commit ourselves in any way, shape or form, because we know that as soon as we enter there will be trial and suffering and we’d rather shy away from those things if we possibly can.
Yet here’s the thing, it is only at the end of this week’s story, in the garden of Resurrection, that our wounds are healed and we can start afresh in a new life with God through his beloved Son.
The choice is ours to make. However, in order to make that choice maybe the real question we have to ask ourselves is this. How much do we want to be there – to one day be in that place where God walks with us again in the cool of the day?
Are we willing to move towards that garden? Are we prepared to walk with Christ, all the way to the cross, yes, but also beyond to that glorious Resurrection?
The gates are now open and Jesus is entering the Holy city – time to choose!
Lord, as we stand at the beginning of this Holy week, give us the strength, not only to continue in our walk with You in the coming days, but also to invite others to walk with us, that together we might come to the glory of Easter morning in the presence of our Risen Lord. Amen.
Palm Sunday Evening – National Call To Prayer
On this Palm Sunday evening the leaders of all Churches have come together to call us to prayer at 7.00pm this evening. Underneath is a prayer by the leaders of all churches that could be used to begin this time of prayer. The full statement can be found on the Church of Scotland website where it also lists all those leaders of all the churches who signed that statement.
A prayer for this time
Living God, for the precious gift of life that you have given to us,
We give you thanks.
For the enduring presence of your love in this world,
We give you thanks.
For the knowledge that you are with us at the close of the day,
We give you thanks.
On this day, we hear the Gospel words that speak of hope,
We hear the cry: Hosanna!
We hear the Gospel words that speak of promise,
We hear the cry: Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
On this day, we journey in hope as we trust in your promise.
Lord, as we journey into the Holy Week to come,
We are conscious that we share in the life of the world.
We are conscious of the presence of those who are near to us,
And of those from whom we are apart.
Whether near, or far, embrace us all in your love.
Lord, we are conscious of others,
Whose life and work is woven into the fabric of our society,
And upon whom we now depend.
We pray for them:
For delivery drivers and posties,
For refuse collectors and cleaners,
For police officers and care workers,
Protect them and keep them safe.
For nurses and doctors,
For scientists and surgeons,
For midwives and ambulance drivers,
Protect them and watch over them.
For those who govern on our behalf,
For those who make decisions that impact upon us all,
For all who shape our common life,
Protect them and increase their wisdom and understanding.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
And grant us faith to journey into the week to come,
Assured of the presence of the crucified and risen Lord,
Jesus Christ. Amen.”